The state government will set up a new elephant camp at Harangi in Kodagu to decongest the existing eight across Karnataka where the pachyderm population has increased over the years.
Sources in the Karnataka Forest Department told DH that orders were issued last month to initiate work on the camp.
Hearing a PIL in 2019, the Karnataka High Court had rapped the state government after a report by an expert committee flagged the poor state of health facilities among others in the camps.
“The High Court had also directed us to set up a new camp to accommodate excess elephants at these camps," a senior official from the forest department said.
"Accordingly, the state government, on February 12, 2021, ordered setting up of a new elephant camp near the Harangi Reservoir Tree Park in Attur division of Kushalnagar Range in Kodagu."
The official said they were told to "make use of funds available under the Kodagu Man-Animal Conflict mitigation Foundation for providing required infrastructure at the park”.
Currently, Karnataka has eight jumbo camps housing about 100-plus domesticated elephants that are used to rescue wild animals and for logging purposes at government timber depots, according to officials.
The new elephant camp is expected to reduce the burden on the nearby Dubare elephant camp, which currently has 31 elephants — the highest in the state.
In its report, the High Court-appointed committee had stated that there were only six veterinarians looking after the camps without any surgical equipment or cold storage to stock up emergency and life-saving drugs.
The report gave a health ranking of 2.5 on a scale of 5 points to the camps, highlighting the poor condition of elephants ailing with several medical problems.